Alleged Murder In Whitechapel

On Sunday the 24th of July 1864, Reynolds’s Newspaper published the following article about a supposed murder that had occurred in Whitechapel:-


On Wednesday, Mr. John Humphreys. the Middlesex coroner, held an inquiry at the London Hospital, respecting the death of Katherine Faning, aged twenty-three years.

It was alleged that she had been thrown from a window by a German sugar-baker, named John Vandeller, who was remanded on Tuesday on that charge at the Thames Police court.


Catherine Faning, the mother of the deceased, said that her daughter had resided at No. 70, Lambeth Street, Whitechapel. She lived with John Vandeller.

She drank a great deal the whole of last week. During that time she frequently said, “I will do for myself.”

Witness believed that she threw herself out of the second-floor window in order to deprive herself of life.


Henry Borger, a lodger in the same house, deposed that, on the day in question he saw Vandeller in the passage on the ground floor when the deceased fell from the second-floor window.

Catherine Lloyd, the landlady of the house, No. 70, Lambeth Street, said that she saw Vandeller in the lower part of the house when the fatal occurrence took place.

Elizabeth Baker deposed to the same fact.

Caroline Lacy said that she was working on the day in question at the window of the house, No. 34, Lambeth Street. That house was opposite No. 70.

Half an hour before the deceased was found lying on the pavement the witness saw her attempt to jump out of the window.

Vandeller caught hold of her in his arms and prevented her effecting her purpose.


Samuel Richardson, 219 H, said that Vandeller had been arrested by the police on a charge of throwing the deceased out of the window and that the prisoner was under remand on that charge.


Vandeller recently informed the deceased that he intended to leave her and go to New York.

The deceased instantly threatened to destroy herself.

On the evening she was found lying injured on the pavement, a lad named John Fitzgerald said he heard screams proceeding from the room and he thought that the man had thrown the woman from the window.

The police then arrested the man.

It was proved that the screams heard were those of the woman in the street when they saw the deceased falling. The woman died shortly after her removal to the London Hospital from a fracture of the skull.

An exterior view of the London Hospital.
The London Hospital.


Several of the jurors said that the case was clearly one of suicide.

The coroner said that he was of that opinion.

No person having seen the deceased fall from the window, an open verdict should be returned.

The jury returned a verdict:- “That the deceased expired from the mortal effects of a certain fall, but how the said fall was caused there was no legal evidence to prove.”


Another German, named Leiderer, was committed from the Thames Police Court in the early part of the month for cutting and wounding the deceased.

Her untimely end will probably save him from punishment, and he will no doubt be discharged at the sessions.